Senior Thesis Exhibitions (2021-2022) > Kaleigh Wilson

Artist Statement

Mental disorders and the state of one’s mental health used to be pushed under the rug in society. Now, in a way, it is celebrated. People are encouraged to share their mental experiences in order to normalize it. In doing so, it has become “trendy.” People are more
than willing to share about their anxiety and depression. Though many mistake their own nervous and sad feelings for anxiety and depression, there is a fine line between hard feeling and a clinical mental health issue. For example, having a rough day and talking
about the emotional drain it had does not entitle a person to compare it to a depressive episode. Not that those feelings aren’t valid or to say someone can’t use that instance to explain their own depression, but more and more people are making comments like these
when they in fact do not struggle with depression, or other clinical mental health issues.

This body of work explores a few mental disorders and their severity in order to bring awareness to the true struggle of mental disorders. Specifically, anxiety and depression.

The artist has had personal experiences with these disorders through herself and through close family and friends. In these images, a model is portrayed with certain, raw emotions and expressions to
capture the nature of having a certain mental disorder, or an event that person may go through regularly. The artist conversed with each model before the shoot and explained the specific instances that she wanted to portray in the pieces, as well as specific emotions
that were felt in her personal experience. Then, they were asked to replicate that emotion with a strong intensity. In the resulting collages, the artist replicated what they felt through
personal experiences with the disorders, as well as experiences from loved ones that dealt with such disorders through collage work. These images as a whole are not specific to one person, though it could be.

This body of work is meant to show the viewers a glimpse of what it is like to have a mental disorder, not just mild symptoms or feelings. It is meant to bring out understanding and empathy for the people who are struggling. For those who struggle with the disorders portrayed in the work, this work is meant to educate others who don’t understand the reality of clinical mental health issues. Olivet
Nazarene University offers a hotline number for mental crises which can be reached at (877) 650-8875. Also, Collective Balance Counseling is an art therapy counseling center located in Bradley. They can be reached at (815) 214-9766. For those struggling with a
mental crisis and are seeking help, these services are highly encouraged.

Sensory Overload
Photograph, Acrylic Paint, Oil PaintMarker, India Ink, Paper Clippings
24" x 36"